Sunoco, private-equity group consider deal for refinery | Dow Chemical to build ethylene plant in Texas | BASF sees continuing demand for engineering resins in China
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April 24, 2012
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Sunoco, private-equity group consider deal for refinery
Sunoco and private-equity manager The Carlyle Group are discussing a deal where Carlyle would operate Sunoco's Philadelphia refinery, which could mean that the site would stay open past August. "The facility has been operating at a significant loss for some time, and we are exploring every avenue to create a viable plan. It is a heavy lift and we are not sure a solution is possible, but we are doing the work," said Rodney S. Cohen of Carlyle. The Philadelphia Inquirer (4/23)
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Dow Chemical to build ethylene plant in Texas
Dow Chemical will create up to 2,000 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent positions by building a Texas ethylene facility scheduled to open in 2017. The move comes as Chevron Phillips Chemical, LyondellBasell and Shell Chemicals are examining similar U.S. investments. "Constructing this new ethylene cracker at Dow Texas Operations will create a long-term advantage for our downstream businesses and for our company as a whole, and the benefits will accrue not only to Dow but to the state and national economy," said Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris. ICIS News (U.K.) (4/19), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (4/18)
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BASF sees continuing demand for engineering resins in China
Chinese consumption of engineering plastics has slipped recently but is still robust, said Andy Postlethwaite of BASF, which provides polyamide and polybutylene terephthalate resins to vehicle manufacturers in China. "There's a constant requirement of working very, very closely with customers to help them understand the benefits and the methodology of changing from more traditional steel or aluminum parts to plastic parts," Postlethwaite said. ICIS News (U.K.) (4/20)
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Chemical Technology News
MonoSol develops edible, dissolvable packaging
MonoSol created edible packaging for food that dissolves in hot water, leaving no detectable taste or smell. "We believe a market exists for dissolvable pouch packaging to address the macrotrends in the food sector such as convenient delivery, portion control, replacing primary packaging," said Matt Scearce, media and communications manager. FoodProductionDaily.com (France) (4/20)
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Energy, Sustainability & Safety
Study: Light-sensitive enzyme can lower cost of biofuels
Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee found that exposure to certain light wavelengths can increase the productivity of the enzyme Candida antarctica lipase B by as much as 30 times, potentially lowering the cost of biofuels and other biobased products. The study shows that "introducing a compound that undergoes a light-inducible conformational change onto the surface of the protein could be used to manipulate enzyme reaction," said lead researcher Pratul Agarwal. BiofuelsDigest.com (4/18)
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Policies, fuel demand are driving global biofuel growth, report says
Government incentives, environmental policies and rising fuel demand are key to the growth of the global biofuels market, according to a report from GlobalData. Biofuel production worldwide grew from 8.853 billion gallons in 2003 to 27.899 billion gallons in 2011, the report showed. DomesticFuel.com (4/17)
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Biological Engineering & Pharmaceuticals
Ex-FDA commissioner says reforms needed for regenerative medicine
The Food and Drug Administration lacks the resources to keep up with developments in regenerative medicine, creating uncertainty that slows the development of new cellular therapies, writes former FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach. Unless Congress reforms the FDA and allows it to craft new evaluation standards for therapies still in development, it will have no choice but to continue calling a "time out" in the process, he writes. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (4/15)
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Researchers use stem cells to regrow hair on bald mice
Japanese researchers used epithelial stem cells and mesenchymal cells to engineer hair follicles that grew like normal hair when implanted in bald mice. The development may help in the regeneration of organs such as salivary glands, which grow in the same way as hair in their early development, a researcher said. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. Science News (4/18)
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Materials & Nanotechnology
Bayer division promotes lightweight PU material
Bayer MaterialScience says its line of lightweight Bayflex RIM polyurethane systems is a breakthrough material for carmakers. The light-weighting product offers cost and emissions savings, the company said. RTT News (4/17)
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Education & Government Update
Congress shows interest in increasing NIH budget
Two bipartisan "Dear Colleague" letters circulating in Congress have garnered widespread support for increasing National Institutes of Health funding, which remains flat in the budget proposal given to Congress by President Barack Obama. The House letter, which has garnered 153 signatures, calls for a 4% increase, or $32 billion. The Senate letter, which does not specify a funding level, has been supported by 47 senators. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (4/18)
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Career Focus
How to use PowerPoint without boring people
To inspire your workers, you need to learn to tell them a compelling story, writes Chris Petersen. You don't have to abandon PowerPoint, but you should know how to use slides to breathe life into your story rather than to suck the life out of your audience. "The challenge lies not in the tool, but whether a leader uses it as a crutch or a way to bring life to their story," Petersen writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (4/20)
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Institute News
Houston hosts Offshore Technology Conference next week
The Offshore Technology Conference is the world's leading exhibit and conference focused on drilling, exploration, production and environmental protection related to the development of offshore resources. It gets under way on Monday, April 30, at the Reliant Center and Arena in Houston, and runs through Thursday, May 3. Members of AIChE, which is a founding sponsor, qualify for discounted rates. Read more.
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NSF searching for assistant director for engineering
The National Science Foundation is conducting a search for the assistant director of engineering. This position manages five divisions: Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems; Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation; Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems; Engineering Education and Centers; and Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. It also oversees the Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation. The appointment may be temporary or permanent. Learn more.
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SmartQuote
It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."
-- Albert Einstein,
German-born physicist
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Editor:  April Hollis
 
 

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